(Miso soup will help your high stress level, read on to find out more...)
Trying to make positive changes to your lifestyle? Enough talk about what you shouldn’t have! Sometimes it’s easier to start adding specific foods rather than eliminating them, which leaves us feeling overwhelmed and defeated early on. Fall in love with these ancient, superfoods below and reap the benefits; clear skin, gorgeous hair, reduced stress, high energy and sound sleep (just to name a few).
Vitamin packed, colorful, fresh foods satisfy both our palate and waste line - but what else are we getting out of it? Life! It’s no myth that a clean healthy diet is the key to a long, fruitful life and aging like fine wine. For once, let’s stop thinking about calories and instead focus on other nutrients. Like, (vitamins A and C and omega-3’s / "The Beauty Helpers") and (Iron and Zinc/ protection against illnesses’, metabolism boosters, concentration improvers and enhancers of physical performance).
Foods for Clear, Glowing, Youthful Skin:
- Purple and deep red foods like acai, pomegranates, purple carrots, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, red or black grapes, blood oranges, purple corn, eggplant (peel) and beets are high in Anthocyanins (antioxidant rich flavonoids) which help maintain the flow of blood to the skin. This promotes healing and acts as protection from sunlight.
- Whole Grains like quinoa, millet, oats, brown rice and rye are high in fiber and antioxidants that stabilize blood sugar. This prevents insulin spikes which causes clogged pores (aka breakouts)...long story short.
- Fish (specifically oily, cold water fish) like mackerel, salmon, anchovies and sardines are high in anti-inflammatory/ omega-3 fatty acids that reduce irritation to skin cells.
- Green Tea is loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that will improve the appearance of your skin, on top of many other health benefits like protection against heart disease!
- Vitamin A packed foods like sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, carrots and kale reduce the size and secretion of the sebaceous glands (aka breakouts).
-Cucumbers are known as “The Beauty Food” because of its ability to rehydrate when consumed or applied topically.
Long, Luscious Locks:
-Nuts! Brazil Nuts are this planet’ s best source of selenium which keeps a healthy scalp. Walnuts contain natural conditioners like alpha-linolenic acid and omega-3’s which promote growth as well. (Unsalted) almonds, cashews and pecans are high in zinc, a mineral, that if neglected can cause hair to shed-due to a deficiency.
- Dark Green Veggies like spinach, kale, collard greens and broccoli create a natural conditioner in hair follicles (called sebum) from the combination of high levels of Iron, Calcium and vitamins A and C.
-Omega-3’s found in fish like salmon will make your hair shiny and keep it from looking dull. Vegetarian? Flaxseed! (I even add this to Preston’s dinner for a lustrous looking coat. Ground in my coffee grinder so he doesn’t know ;)
- Beans...beans, they’ re good for your...hair! Kidney beans and lentils provide plant based proteins that promote growth! "No more extensions!"
Other hair helpers are whole grains, oysters (high in zinc) and carrots (also good for vision).
Stress Reducing Foods:
(Dark chocolate covered Brazil nuts are awesome! Stress relieving/ energy boosting dark chocolate covering protein packed brazil nuts that help my hair shine! Amazeballs.)
-Avocados are high in potassium (even higher than a banana!) This helps lower blood pressure as well as curb a fat craving which is usually induced by stressful situations. Try making your own salad dressing by pureeing a medium sized avocado and add lemon juice and cayenne pepper. YUM.
-Oatmeal- healthy carbs like this "stick to your ribs" dish make your brain create serotonin!!! Top with a spoonful of natural/ organic JAM for a quicker release of this brain relaxing chemical. (I say this is your best breakfast option, skip brown sugar :p )
-NUTS high in vitamins A, B and D - like almonds, pistachios and walnuts (also good for immune system and energy!!) will help you calm and carry on.
-Chamomile Tea span> will naturally relax your mind and body. (I know a few people who attribute their success in quitting a bad habit - like smoking- to this amazing supplement! TRY IT!)
Foods to Stay “Regular”- foods with the highest amounts of fiber; artichokes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bulgur, quinoa, brown rice, navy/garbanzo/kidney beans, figs, prunes, pears and almonds.
Energy Boosting Foods:
- Organic Dark Chocolate (MmmMmm..) is amazing, but limit to 1-2 oz/ day as it does contain sugar. However, it's much better than other desserts with refined sugars that actually deplete our systems of B vitamins that we need for energy. span>
-Dried Fruit like raisins, dried cranberries/mangos/apricots and prunes will give you a quick energy boost!!! Limit to one serving (as a snack) daily, to avoid overconsumption of sugar (aka weight gain).
-OJ in the morning! Rich in vitamin C, natural orange juice will help you get the most iron possible out of other foods that you eat.
-Iron packed foods improve concentration and enhance physical performance, woohoo!!! Foods high in iron are green leafy vegetables, oysters, clams, scallops, beans, lentils, artichokes, oatmeal, wheat germ, tofu, seeds, melons, egg yolks and nuts. span> BAM!!!
- Bananas’ potassium helps muscles contract. One per day prevents stiffness that could be a result of sitting in that desk all day :/
- Red peppers with hummus span> is a snack with a combo of energy boosting nutrients including Vitamins A and C so it’s also good for skin beauty. Try this recipe! http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2012/04/16/vegan-fresh-raw-chickpea-free-hummus
-Pumpkin Seeds are high in iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin K and protien. They are great to keep at work for long days since they are lighter than other nuts...so you can go nuts!
-Celery and Carrots are a great snack to keep your metabolism going throughout long, tired days. They are extremely refreshing and crunchy which is believed to yield an energy crash. (Celery also acts as a diuretic so it helps flush out excess fluid in your body). “Snatched!”
Other energy helpers include adding thin slices of lemon or cucumber to ice cold water as well as keeping shots of cold pureed veggie soup in the office fridge. Zing!
Foods to help you Zzzz...
- Miso Soup contains amino acids that boost the production of melatonin, a natural hormone that helps you rest. Wow.
-Chamomile tea is my favorite way to unwind after a crazy day and has been proven to reduce levels of anxiety and stress. Stay stocked! Trust me.
- 1 Hard boiled egg as a late night snack might help if you have trouble dosing off. This combo of proteins helps you fall asleep and stay there!
Speaking of the bed... ;)
Aphrodisiacs like avocado, honey, hot chillies, bananas, pomegranates, salmon, walnuts, vanilla, watermelon and red wine will help you get in the mood. (We will chat about the health benefits of sex another time...stay tuned.)
They key to fighting off illness’ is to maintain a diet that has a variety of all foods rich in carotenoids, Vitamin C and E, powerful antioxidants, Zinc and selenium. Eat these foods raw or lightly steamed to keep the nutrients alive;
Carotenoids- Apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnips, collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink
grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato,
tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Vitamin C- Berries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Vitamin E- Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard & turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
Other super foods that are rich in antioxidants- Prunes, apples, raisins, all berries, plums, red grapes, alfalfa sprouts, onions, eggplant and beans.
Zinc- Found in oysters, (lean) red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified cereals, and (low-fat) dairy products.
Selenium- Found in Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry, fortified breads, and other grain products.
Foods that make you smell good? Fresh produce, especially citrus fruits. Also, season your meals with spices that stay in the body to leave a pleasant aroma like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or cardamom!
Create your own combination of benefits by finding foods that work best for you and get familiar with the produce section. Start eliminating bad eating habits by adding good ones instead of worrying so much about what you can’t have. Choose items from these lists that you’d like to start using and look up a healthy recipe! Some of my favorite sites are...
JAMtv: youtube.com/user/ JamieAlexandraMurphy& nbsp;